More than half of the total number of ocular procedures in ophthalmology nowadays are related to conjunctivitis. Although most cases are generally benign in nature, with certain types of conjunctivitis it is advisable to have an emergency appointment with the ophthalmologist in order to be able to recuperate normal vision and alleviate the significant discomfort which conjunctivitis provokes.

What is conjunctivitis ?

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, a fine membrane which produces a mucus which lines and lubricates the surface of the eye.When the conjunctiva becomes irritated or inflamed, the blood vessels which irrigate it dilate and the eye turns red.

What causes conjunctivitis ?

There are many reasons for ocular irritation which can lead to conjunctivitis. The most common are viral or bacterial infections, allergies and environmental irritants such as tobacco, smoke, dust, solvents etc…

What are the symptoms ?

There is watering of the eyes, pain, reddening, grittiness and itchiness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and crusts which form on the eyelids overnight.

What treatment is there ?

The treatment of conjunctivitis depends on the cause. Conjunctivitis due to allergies may respond to these being treated or may disappear by itself once the allergen which causes it is eliminated. This type of conjunctivitis can also be alleviated by applying cold compresses. Antibiotic medications, such as eye drops, may prove effective in cases of bacterial conjunctivitis. Finally, viral conjunctivitis disappears of its own accord, although the discomfort which it causes can be alleviated with tepid compresses being placed on the eyes.

What is the final recommendation ?

As a general rule, when faced with any manifestation which leads to an alteration in one’s vision, intense photophobia, ocular pain, or papillary changes, the best advice is to see your ophthalmologist in order to obtain a diagnosis and therefore receive the appropriate treatment for that specific case.